A Boxing Day story of awakening. Music from Michael Wilding & Jordan McConnell. As recorded December 26, 2021.
John revisits the awakenings and koans of the great teachers, among them Yunmen and Linji. The love, and attention, and faithfulness at the heart of the stories and teachings of the Chan ancestors is their gift to us. And everything we bring to it is an addition into this great heritage, and is part of the layering. Transcript from a video talk in Fall Sesshin 2019.
“Gratitude is something that I haven’t planned on—either to receive or to give—it takes me by surprise. It arrives out of nowhere. It’s the part of happiness that is beyond selfishness. My gratitude doesn’t have a lot of discrimination, and I like that.”
Day two of 2018 Winter Sesshin. John Tarrant introduces the great koan “No,” a gift from the ancestors. The gift is what happens when we hang out with the koan. “No” as the purest gate. When we step through, we find out we’re here! It’s not personal, you’re harmonizing with the universe. Transcript from a recording on January 17, 2018.
We are exhausted by our own agendas; in Chan and Zen the Bodhisattva of Great Mercy vows to stay until all beings are awakened. Her primary bond is with uncertainty. Your recipe for awakening is only for you.
In even the simplest life, pain and disappointment accumulate—and at some moment everyone longs to walk through a gate and leave the past behind, perhaps for an earlier time when the colors were bright and the heart carried no weight. The quest for a fresh start is so fundamental that it defines the shape of the stories we tell each other. Article by John Tarrant published in Lion’s Roar magazine on July 1, 2007.
A guided koan meditation with John Tarrant to begin the Spring Sesshin. Koan: Peach Blossoms. 7 minutes as recorded April 7, 2021.
On friendship—two old friends on Tortoise Mountain are snowed in. One wakes up and so does the Mountain. Audio excerpt as recorded January 31 2021, PZI Zen Online. 7 minutes.
PZI Zen Online: Audio excerpt from Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon, Michelle Riddle’s Talk, “Earth.” Compassion is receptive earth. It does not have one face, nor is it driving or pitying. It erupts within us. It allows barriers to fall, and in that way it is the ground on which we stand, the heart and soul of awakening. As recorded August 9 2020.
Summer Sesshin: Into the Cave of the Blue Dragon – audio excerpt from the Saturday morning session with Allison Atwill Roshi. As recorded June 27th, 2020.
Audio: PZI Zen online Allison sits with Awakening. What is it? Awakening experience is outside of our control or will. It comes in a from a direction we don’t know about – a direction we have darkened. The sufficiency of the moment. Hakuin Ikkaku as a teacher and seeing into your essential nature. As recorded May 5, 2020.
In the evening dharma talk John introduces us to an ancestor in the koan tradition, Dahui Zonggao 大慧宗杲 (Ta-hui Tsung-kao, Daie Soko), 1089-1163 and his disciple Wuzhuo Miaozong (無著妙宗; 1096–1170 CE), Miaozong lived during the Song dynasty and was one of the first nuns to be included in an imperially sanctioned Zen lineage history. The conversation between Dahui and Miaozong is instructive of his early method of using only the ‘head of the koan’ and becoming one with it. His method was formulated for his culture.